Paris is a gem of a city, with loads of the best things to see in Paris dotted all across the city. it’s the kind of place that’s buzzing with tons of secret spots, epic things to do and incredible Parisian markets to explore. This all makes for a perfect visit to one of Europe’s most iconic cities.
If it’s your first, second or gazillionth time visiting Paris, you’ll no doubt be excited to sample and explore the city, but as we all know, that comes at a price.
Regardless of your budget, you can still find heaps of top-rated free things to do in Paris, dotted all across the city. It’s a treasure trove of a city to explore.
So, to make things nice and easy for you; we’ve jotted down some of the best things to see in Paris, all whilst keeping an eye on costs.
1) Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Montmatre
Sacré-Cœur Basilica is easily up there as one of the best things to see in Paris. In fact, you can’t miss it when visiting the Montmartre area of Paris.
Not only is the basilica absolutely stunning but it’s also perched on top of the tallest hill in all of Paris. This makes it one very special place to see views across this stunning French city.
Now, technically Montmatre is within the 8th arrondissement of Paris but everyone just calls it Montmartre. To this day, the area has attracted poets, artists, and creatives that make this area of Paris so special.
Once you’re in Montmartre, make sure to head straight to Sacré-Cœur Basilica. To make things easy, book this Sacré-Cœur guided tour that’ll take in all the key spots around the neighbourhood. Just be sure to book it in advance, tickets can sell out on peak days.
Spend an afternoon traipsing through the local markets, boutiques, and museums, like the Musée de Montmartre. It’s well worth a visit.
Top tip: If you’ve got time, stay until sunset. It’s lovely with all those views. One of the best times to visit is around sunset when Paris is basked in some gorgeous orange hues!
2) Visit the Musée Bourdelle
Perched within the historic studio of the French sculptor, Antoine Bourdelle, the Bourdelle Museum is one of the best things to see in Paris if you’ve already booked these tickets to see the Mona Lisa (at the Louvre) or Orsay Museum.
Located in the art hub of Montparnasse, it’s got heaps of permanent and temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year. Even if you visited years ago, I’m almost certain you’ll see something completely different when you visit again.
Top tip: Musée Bourdelle is rarely open on a Monday, so make sure to plan your visit around this.
3.) Paris River Cruise
A Paris River Cruise is a totally fantastic way to enjoy the city. Not only do you get to see Paris from a completely different perspective, you also get to see so many iconic sights, all whilst relaxing on the boat itself.
Now, make sure to book tickets for this Paris river cruise; it’s one of our favourite 1-hour tours that’s perfect when you’re visiting the city. We loved it and it’s easily one of the best things to see in Paris if you’re looking for a nice and relaxed day.
Just be sure, like I said, to book these tickets in advance. They sell out fast for peak times.
4) Stroll Jardin de Plantes
Paris has heaps of gorgeous gardens and parks to explore. It can be such a green city if you know where to look.
One of our favourite parks to visit is Jardin de Plantes. It’s so colourful and has heaps of trails and walkways to explore the vast grounds. Plus, it’s within walking distance from Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter, too.
Once here make sure to explore the Labyrinth of the Jardin des Plantes. It’s like a maze and is lovely. Oh, and don’t forget to wander through the lake and waterways, too. It’s stunning.
Looking for some indoor activity? Head to the Museum of Natural History that’s within the grounds of the park itself. It’s absolutely colossal and well worth giving it a few hours to really explore.
Top tip: Now, if it’s your first time visiting Paris, you might find it a bit bamboozling when trying to dash between all the neighbourhoods and parks. So, plan and make sure to work on key areas of focus. This way, you can be really efficient with your travel around Paris.
5.) Place des Vosges
Not only is Place des Vosges absolutely beautiful, but it’s also the oldest square in all of Paris. This makes it one of the best things to see in Paris which was commissioned way back in 605 by Henry IV.
After arriving, make sure to pop around the Square (which will only take around 5-10 minutes) and pop over to nearby Carette for one of their yummy pastries.
If you’ve got time, take a wander to the nearby Hôtel de Sully.
The lodging is so beautiful and you can even go inside, to see the Duchess’s room. It’s something of a hidden gem in this area and such a lovely place to visit.
Top tip: Best of all, you can plan a visit to Place des Vosges when you visit Place de Bastille as it’s only a stone’s throw away.
6.) Eiffel Tower
Look, you can’t visit Paris for the first time and not see the Eiffel Tower. It’s iconic, beautiful and well worth heading to the very top to see the views. We love visiting at sunset.
To make things easy, and to avoid horrendously long queues, book these Eiffel Tower tickets before arriving at the tower. Not only will it guarantee your entry, but you’ll also get to choose the optional summit access when buying this ticket.
Top tip: If you want views of (not from) the Eiffel Tower, head to the nearby Trocadéro Gardens. You’ll get a fabulous view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. It’s breathtaking.
7.) Modern Art Museum
Located within the Palais de Tokyo, this museum of modern art is often said to rival the collection at the Centre Pompidou when it comes to Paris-based artists.
Inside, the museum houses over fifteen thousand artefacts and heaps of permanent exhibitions which are totally incredible to see.
Once you’ve gotten yourself inside, you’ll get to see famous works of arts from people like; Gaston Suisse and Henri Matisse. Plus, you’ll even get to see some of the iconic murals by Raoul Dufy, too.
Top tip: Still got time? Head over to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum that’s within walking distance. You can even book these Yves Saint Laurent Museum tickets that get you inside before opening time, too. It’s such a special experience.
8.) Cemetery of Père Lachaise
I’m not one to typically say, ‘Let’s visit a cemetery’ but the cemetery of Père Lachaise is famous for its opulent tombs and for being the final resting place of famous names like Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde.
To make things easy, book this Père Lachaise guided tour that’ll get you right to the very tombs you want to see.
Top tip: Keep your eyes peeled for Oscar Wilde’s tomb and that of Jim Morrison, which is here.
9.) La Madeleine
Right in the heart of the city, within walking distance of Place de la Concorde, La Madeleine is one of the best things to see in Paris whilst strolling the centre.
You see, the church is something of an ode to Napoleon and is totally free to visit when in Paris. Visiting is a great way to learn more about the Napoleonic period of French history and its influence.
Not only that, you can easily visit the incredible Palais Garnier that’s within walking distance, too. It’s a beautiful opera house that’s well worth visiting for a tour or booking a performance. Just be sure to do this before arriving in the city – tickets can sell out fast.
Top tip: To make your trip around Paris nice and easy, book this hop-on-hop-off bus tour. It’s the perfect way you get to the main sights dotted around Paris, all without the headache that can be the metro.
10.) Canal of St Martin
Paris is a beautiful city to explore, even more so by foot! There’s so much to see, with so many of the best things to see in Paris dotted all across the city.
Spanning five kilometres (nearly three miles), Canal Saint-Martin is one such place to go for a stroll; especially if you’ve already ‘ticked off’ the likes of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
If that’s not your thing, book this incredible boat tour of the canals and the Seine River. It lasts around 2.5 hours and is worth it to see so much of Paris.
Top tip: Make sure to visit the locks of the Récollets and eat at one of the lovely restaurants that line the canal.
11.) Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg is easily one of the best places to see in Paris when you’re south of the river. You see, it’s absolutely beautiful and one of France’s gorgeous outdoor spaces.
Start near the Palais du Luxembourg (a former Royal home) and stroll your way over to the Medici Fountain. From here, you’ll head down the Esplanade Gaston Monnerville and finish off at the Fontaine des Quatre-Parties-du-Monde.
It’s a lovely walk and will take around 90 minutes for a stroll.
If you’ve got time, you can also pop into the Eugène Delacroix Museum that’s pretty close by. Here, you’ll get to see so much of Delacroix’s art. It’s incredible.
Top tip: Afterwards, make sure to walk over to the iconic Panthéon that’s so incredible to see. It dates back to the seventeen hundred and is a mausoleum to some of France’s notable figures.
Once here, make sure to go inside the dome, learn more about the history of France and see the crypt, too.